CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Students from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are set to walk the stage at the American Bank Center Saturday -- with one student in particular showcasing just how far hard work and perseverance can go.
Letty Guval-DeLuna will be the first in her family to earn a bachelor's degree. However, her journey to get to that point actually started 30 years ago.
"They didn't want me to ever suffer, we worked in the fields so hard, so you don't have to work here, they said 'you go to school mija, you go to school,'" DeLuna said.
After graduating high school in 1992, DeLuna was accepted into the University of Texas-Pan American as a bilingual education major. While there, DeLuna also found much success singing in the university's mariachi.
She was even scouted to record an album.
"Two years later I was offered a recording contract and that's how my Tejano music started," DeLuna said.
DeLuna added that she made the difficult decision to put her education on hold when her music career took off. She spent the next five years touring the nation as a 90's Tejano icon.
Adding to her list of accomplishments, DeLuna became the first Tejano singer to receive an invitation to sing at the White House. DeLuna even extended her musical career into Christian music, before eventually being offered a job as an interpreter.
"One thing I know is Spanish and English," DeLuna said.
However, when she was offered the job, DeLuna would find that not having a degree was holding her back.
"At the very end, said we can't because you don't have a bachelor's degree," DeLuna said.
Even though she had taken a break from her schooling, DeLuna was able to transfer her credits from all those years ago to enroll at Del Mar College in 2019.
She then continued her education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where her love of music would once again find her.
"I went home and said 'babe what do you think about me joining the mariachi?,'" DeLuna said.
DeLuna once again launched herself into the spotlight. 30 years after first beginning her journey in pursuit of higher education, DeLuna is set to walk the stage -- all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
"Amazing, because I can say you can, don't ever say you can't," DeLuna said.
Hoping to use her powerful voice in a different way, DeLuna is now on the search of a translating job to work in the legal or health care system.
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